Last year at the Hilltop schooling show, I got a 63% at First 1 and just about threw a party. First level! Theo had achieved First level! Not by a lot, but it still counted. It was an act of God and weight lifting to survive that test, but we did it!
A horse that has realized the show season is starting
On Sunday, Theo got a 64.9% at First 3, a mid-60's on First 2, and made it all feel easy. The judge that had previously not been a big fan of Theo came around, saying he was a nice horse and she liked his willing attitude. No comments on needing forward in either test! She liked the canter lengthen, just wanted it more uphill. Got knocked for an attempted walk to canter transition, but who's counting?
Fancy, fancy show pony.
First outing of the year and he was a champ. No lunging, no real dramatics, he looked around and then went to work. We trotted down center line and he knew what to do. He's a completely different horse than what I had in 2016 and I love it.
We have a lot of work to do, don't get me wrong. I had two errors in First 2 when I started to do First 3. We need those trot lengthens to get more than a 6. I need to dial in some of the geometry (shallow serpentine that looked like I'm drunk being the primary example). I need him to not kick out when I say canter lengthen now, not some time half way down the ring. But I'm celebrating tonight because that is a confirmed, competitive First level horse! I can buy my freestyle choreography because he is now ready!
I'm nearly in tears, guys. It's been a long road but so worth it. I have now surpassed what I did with Fiona and entered unknown territory. Theo is a confirmed, locked in, competitive First level horse. And he has so much more to he can do.
Of course I went out and celebrated. Oreo cheesecake!